Thursday, January 05, 2006

Chavez, Morales 'fuel up' an axis

CARACAS, VENEZUELA: Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on Tuesday promised Bolivian president-elect Evo Morales fuel, economic cooperation and his backing for coca leaf farmers to seal ties between the socialist allies.

The Venezuelan leader and Morales, a former coca leaf farmer, have antagonised the US government with their alliance with Cuba and promotion of leftist integration to counter US free-market policies in Latin America.

Chavez said Venezuela would supply 150,000 barrels a month of diesel fuel in exchange for farm products, provide $30 million in financing for social programs and support Morales' crusade to protect coca crops against US eradication campaigns.

"We can't lose a day in supporting Bolivia in any way we can," Chavez said at a media conference where he presented Morales with a replica of the sword used by Venezuelan liberation hero Simon Bolivar.

Wait and see how real this is.